MILF peace panel member to media: educate people on Bangsamoro aspirations

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 November)— A member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel on Saturday suggested key points for media workers in Mindanao to consider to help sustain the peace process.

Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, who asserted that negotiation is the best democratic approach to resolve self-determination conflicts between the Philippines and the Bangsamoro, said  “media practitioners can help the peace process by advocating for new ideas for Bangsamoro people to achieve the highest aspiration for self-governance.”

He repeatedly said that since the start of the peace talks in 1997, “the MILF agenda does not include an independent Bangsamoro state” but the “highest form of self-governance for the Bangsamoro and equitable sharing of resources found in the Bangsamoro Homeland  between the Bangsamoro State and the Central Government.”

Speaking before media executives on Day Two of  the three-day 6th Mindanao Media Summit, Lingga suggested to practitioners to “educate the Filipino people on the importance of the GRP-MILF peace negotiations, to make it succeed and to stop bearing the costs of conflict.”

Lingga also asked media workers to “undertake programs that will remove biases and prejudices against Muslims.”

He also urged them to “advocate for liberal interpretation of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and constitutional changes to accommodate the Bangsamoro aspirations.”

Dismayed by the slow progress of peace talks under the Aquino administration, Lingga said, “if there are delays in pursuing the talks, these are not delays done by the MILF.”

Lingga also appealed to the government peace panels that “if there are concerns for the resumption of the talks, let’s discuss this as panels because we cannot exchange discourses and agree on processes for dialogues by exchanging statements through the press.”

The summit was also attended by government officials of the Office of the President for Peace Process (OPAPP) and executives of civil societies in Mindanao.

Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, amember of the government peace panel negotiating with the MILF, said “We are ready as a panel but we do have  some concerns regarding the process of facilitation, the pending status of which has not enabled the immediate commencement of talks.” (Violeta M. Gloria/MindaNews)

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